Retired Captain, 2 CPOs Indicted in Continuing ‘Fat Leonard’ Investigation

August 20, 2018 9:12 PM - Updated: August 21, 2018 5:52 AM
Then Capt. David Haas. US Navy Photo

A retired captain and former 7th Fleet official pocketed at least $145,000 in exchange for steering Navy ships to ports where a foreign defense contractor managed port husbanding services, a federal grand jury alleged in an indictment issued Friday in San Diego in the latest in the ongoing probe into Glenn Defense Marine Asia.

Capt. David W. Haas, 50, of Kailua, Hawaii, was charged with eight counts, including bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to commit ‘honest services’ fraud for allegedly accepting money, luxurious travel, hotel accommodations and food as well as prostitutes’ services from Leonard Francis, GDMA’s owner and chief executive, according to an announcement by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California.

Two retired chief petty officers – Master Chief Petty Officer Ricarte I. David and Chief Petty Officer Brooks A. Parks – also were indicted by the federal grand jury on Aug. 16.

David, 61, of Tarlac Province, Philippines, allegedly approved “GDMA’s fraudulently inflated ship husbanding invoices” for ships’ port visits in exchange for cash, hotel rooms, and prostitutes from Francis in a scheme dating back to 2005, prosecutors announced.

Parks, 46, of Naples, Italy, is accused of “providing sensitive and proprietary U.S. Navy information, including competitor pricing and U.S. Navy ship and personnel movement information, among others,” in exchange for receiving gifts, lavish hotel suites and airline tickets from Francis.

The men face potential prison sentences and $250,000 fines if convicted on any of the charges.

The so-called “Fat Leonard” Navy bribery and fraud scandal has netted charges against 32 defendants – including retired flag and senior officers – with 20 already pleading guilty to various charges, officials said. Leonard’s Singapore-based GDMA provided services such as tugboats, security, fuel, food, water and trash removal during port visits in Asia-Pacific, visits he allegedly arranged after plying Navy officials with cash and luxurious gifts. Arrested in 2013, Francis reportedly made a plea deal but prosecutors haven’t detailed his fate.

“The trio reciprocated by using their influence within the Navy’s Seventh Fleet to approve inflated invoices by GDMA, to steer ships to GDMA-controlled ports and otherwise advance the interests of Francis and GDMA,” U.S. Attorney Adam L. Braverman said in the announcement. “The indictment further alleges that they and their co-conspirators used their access to slip GDMA classified and proprietary U.S. Navy information, and helped GDMA recruit other U.S. Navy officers to join the conspiracy.”

Haas spent several tours assigned in 7th Fleet and served as the operations officer, N3, aboard the command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) from August 2011 to July 2013.

The 20-page indictment against Haas includes numerous infractions. Prosecutors allege that:

On Nov. 5, 2011, Francis “took Haas and others to dinner at the Ritz Carlton in Tokyo, Japan, and provided them with prostitutes at a cost of more than $20,000.”

From May 11-15, 2012, “Francis paid for rooms at the Shangri-La in Jakarta, Indonesia, plus dinner, entertainment at a nightclub, alcohol and prostitutes for Haas and others.”

From June 29-30, 2012, in Tokyo, “Francis paid for a two-day party for Haas and others including transportation, dinner at Nobu Restaurant and entertainment at several hostess clubs where the services of prostitutes were provided, at a cost of more than $75,000.”

The indictment also alleges that on Nov. 30, 2012, Haas joined his alleged co-conspirator, Cmdr. Michael Misiewicz, in a Francis-paid car and driver to take them from Yokosuka to the Ritz-Carlton in Tokyo, where Francis was staying at the time.

Undated photo of Leonard Francis

“In Francis’s room, with Haas present, Misiewicz handed Francis an envelope of classified long-range Seventh Fleet ship schedules, CTF-70 ship schedules, and Seventh Fleet organization charts,” the indictment states. “The schedules were stamped ‘SECRET’ and projected ship visits approximately 14 months in advance. Those classified schedules included information related to U.S. Navy ballistic missile defense operations in the Pacific and remains classified.”

“After reviewing the ship schedules, Francis, Haas and Misiewicz pored over the Seventh Fleet organizational chart, which Haas and Misiewicz had brought with them, in an effort to identify and evaluate potential successors to the corrupt relationship with Francis when Misiewicz departed the Seventh Fleet, the following month, in December 2012. Following these discussions, Francis took Haas and Misiewicz to a strip club where food and prostitutes were provided at a cost of approximately $7,000.”

Misiewicz, a captain-select at the time of his arrest, pleaded guilty in 2016 to bribery charges and was sentenced to 78 months in prison. He was fined $100,000 and ordered to forfeit $95,000.

David, who retired in May 2012, allegedly collected about $40,000 in cash as he conspired to commit fraud with Francis starting in 2005, according to the eight-page indictment. The CPO served aboard amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD-2) from July 2004 to August 2007, aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) from September 2007 to August 2008 and the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73) from September 2008 to July 2010. “In these positions, DAVID was responsible for ordering and 27 verifying goods and services for the ships on which he served, including 28 from contractors during port calls,” the indictment states.

The document outlined a scheme where David demanded from Francis things “including cash, gifts, entertainment, hotel expenses and the services of prostitutes,” while in return, “David would use his position and influence in the U.S. Navy to advocate for and advance GDMA’s interests, as opportunities arose.”

David is accused of approving or helping approve inflated, fraudulent invoices and giving Francis and others sensitive and classified Navy information, and he pocketed cash and favors including pricey hotel suites. The indictment notes several email exchanges David had with Francis asking for cash, including one where he wrote, “if you can please help me out with some ($cash) I really need some help to build my retirement home.”

Parks, who retired in January 2016, served as a logistics lead petty officer on the 7th Fleet staff from December 2005 to November 2008, then was assigned to the Afloat Training Group-Western Pacific until May 2013.

According to the eight-page indictment, Parks was part of “a material scheme” and “would demand, seek, receive, and accept things of value from Francis and others, including gifts, transportation, hotel expenses, and airline tickets. In return for these things of value, PARKS would agree to use his position and influence with the U.S. Navy to advance GDMA’s interests, as opportunities arose. In return for these things of value, PARKS would provide GDMA with internal, proprietary U.S. Navy information as well as confidential information about GDMA’s competitors.”

In one 2006 email exchange to a GDMA executive asking for a hotel suite for his vacation, “Parks wrote: ‘It feels good living like a KING on an E-6’s salary!!!’” the indictment states.

Haas, David and Parks are scheduled to be arraigned at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 30, in San Diego, according to their summons posted on the court’s website.

Gidget Fuentes

Gidget Fuentes

Gidget Fuentes is a freelance writer based in San Diego, Calif. She has spent more than 20 years reporting extensively on the Marine Corps and the Navy, including West Coast commands and Pacific regional issues.

Get USNI News updates delivered to your inbox